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Friday, May 27, 2022

Predict the Bears’ first pick in the 2022 NFL draft

The 2022 NFL draft is here, though there won’t be much of the Chicago Bears on Night 1 to expect. For the third time in four years, the Bears are without a first-round pick. And new general manager Ryan Poles has just six current draft picks to work with.

The good news is that Chicago does have two choices in the second round (39th and 48th overall), as well as the 71st overall choice. There are opportunities to grab some impact players at some obvious need positions, including wide receiver, attacking line and cornerback.

Prior to the draft, our Bears Wire staff was predicting what Chicago would do with its first selection at 39th overall, and there was one position we almost all agreed on.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears need to surround Justin Fields with more weapons, and it’s not a matter of as but when they add a wide range to the concept. In a perfect world, George Pickens drops the Bears to 39th overall. If not for a torn ACL last spring, we’re talking about Pickens as a first-round prospect. He has the size and playing ability, whether it is as a deep ball threat or in situations with controversial catches. The Bears need to add more weapons for Fields, and Pickens will provide a hell of a 1-2 hold with Darnell Mooney.

Predict the Bears' first pick in the 2022 NFL draft

USA Today Sport

This concept is really exciting as it is Ryan Poles’ first one as the Bears GM. Therefore, we have very little information about trying to predict which direction the team is going to take. But we know Poland puts a lot of stock in the attacking line and if the chips fall right, I believe he and the Bears take on Tyler Linderbaum with their first choice over a receiver. The offensive line is still uncertain and although the Bears have signed veteran Lucas Patrick in free agency to probably grab the ball to Justin Fields, they will seize the opportunity to find their center of the future. Linderbaum was a star for Iowa and projects as a Week 1 starter in the league. He was named a first-round pick, but his stock is declining due to his lack of versatility on the line and could most likely be available when the Bears are on the clock. The team needs recipients and they will get it. But I believe Poland would not be able to pass up this opportunity should Linderbaum be available.

Predict the Bears' first pick in the 2022 NFL draft

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike last year, I believe the Bears will stay at 39, due to the amount of needs they have and their lack of concept capital. The good news, this is a very deep concept for wide recipients. Chicago is likely to line up two wide receivers, with first Jahan Dotson having their first pick in the second round. Dotson had a high-profile career at Penn State. His NFL comparison is Steelers’ WR Diontae Johnson. Johnson found early success in his young NFL career. If this comparison comes true, the 1-2 hold of Darnell Mooney and Dotson will give Justin Fields two young targets he can rely on for the foreseeable future.

Predict the Bears' first pick in the 2022 NFL draft

Associated Press Photo / Butch Dill

The Bears need a receiver to pair with Darnell Mooney. With Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown who both have one-year deals and the team apparently is not willing to pay too much for a leading free agent should be the answer to the concept. Christian Watson is a rare combination of size and speed at 6’4, 208 pounds and a 4.3 40-yard dash. Watson, a rising star, gives Justin Fields a reliable weapon for the next five years of his career.

Predict the Bears' first pick in the 2022 NFL draft

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Fields currently lacks what every young, elite full-back currently has – a rising star at receiver. While the Bears have solid depth in Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown added to go with Darnell Mooney, it’s a C + receptionist with Allen Robinson now in Los Angeles. Dotson is a game breaker that can be aligned as the X, Y or Z and can be used in a multitude of ways. With the potential to change any game with one play, the Nittany Lions receiver could finally be one of the focus pieces for Chicago’s distant future.

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